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2018 for Vienna House is definitely the time of further development. After changing the investor structure and then signing the joint venture agreement with the Thai company AHS, we are planning to go further than European market. We have started first negotiation, among others in Bangkok and Vietnam. On Polish market, it is important to open a new hotel in Warsaw, which is planned for the between the third and fourth quarter of 2018. The hotel will be opened in Mokotów, in the business district and it will promote the concept of creative meetings, local cuisine and Polish hospitality. Architecturally, however, the building will refer to the industrial past of its location and its history. In 2018, renovation works were also planned in existing facilities, which will be announced in the following weeks. In 2018, the hotel in Leipzig will also join the portfolio of Vienna House hotels in Germany.
The past 12 months have brought a lot of positive changes for the entire Vienna House chain, which will affect its further development. In 2017, the group’s investment structure was changed. The total share in the capital of Vienna International Hotelmanagement AG (Vienna House) was acquired by a subsidiary of the Thai company U City – Vienna House Capital. On this basis, a joint venture agreement was signed with Absolute Hotel Services (AHS), which manages over 20 hotels in Asia. In this way, we will be able to plan the opening of new hotels under the brands belonging to Vienna House and AHS on the European and Asian markets. The Vienna House hotels in Poland achieved good results, won industry awards, and thanks to the renovations planned for the next year, they will be able to change for the better and match the requirements of their guests. In 2017, we also announced the opening of four new hotels: in Warsaw, Leipzig, Liechtenstein and the Kronberg.
The greatest impact on the location of Vienna House’s investments in the CEE region is the estimated potential of the city in terms of planned investments affecting the increase in the number of guests, occupancy and, as a result, return on investment. The hotel market in the CEE region is developing dynamically, however, it is necessary to bear in mind the high competition and correctly assess the possibilities of market saturation.
2018 is still promising – the growing number of guests, and what is associated with this growing occupancy, very positively outlines the future of the industry. However, hotels must adapt to their guests in order to meet their requirements and expectations. The hotel is no longer a place offering accommodation, but a place that creates an atmosphere and encourages people to stay in it. That is why extended public places are so popular, e.g. a lobby with a place to work together. Guests do not want to stay in their rooms anymore – they prefer a space outside of them. It is also important for them whether the hotel run business in harmony with the environment, for example by encouraging to limit the cleaning of rooms and the exchange of towels.
Nowadays healthy eating and lifestyle are also popular. Hotels must respond to the needs of their guests also in this area. Drinks and take-out beverages are also gaining popularity, thanks to which the hotel restaurant or bar can work as a popular cafes. It attracts not only hotel guests, but also local residents. Next year, for sure, storytelling will continue to gain strength, e.g. selling the object with the help of emotions and history. Visitors will be more and more willing to make reservations via the Internet, send inquiries via Facebook and other social channels, which is why in 2018 time will be more and more important – the speed of reaction, which can often affect the guest’s choice of hotel. The ability of hotels to analyze data will surely also affect competitiveness – Big Data is undoubtedly a topic that will become more important next year. Hotel chains that better analyze the information about their guests will be able to reach them with a specifically made offer. In addition, the hotel industry will have to face the growing strength of the Airbnb website and watch carefully what affects its growing popularity.
Katarzyna Niezgoda, Director of Business Development, Vienna House Poland